Well, I experimented to find out! When someone asked me if soap nuts would clean really dirty work clothes (from working in the septic business), I have to admit, I wasn't really sure. My own husband works with appliances/recycling and has a particular talent for getting his clothes especially dirty and smelly. So I figured if I ever wanted to know, I would just have to experiment and see.
BEFORE Soap Nuts
|Super Dirty Work Clothes|
So this picture is very typical of how really dirty my husband's work clothes get. And before I started using soap nuts, here is the procedure I would follow to try and get them clean with regular detergent...
Laundry Procedure With Regular Detergent:
|Work Clothes After Regular Detergent|
- Pour maximum amount of detergent in the wash compartment and in the pre-wash compartment.
- Add bleach to the bleach compartment.
- Select: "Hot" wash, "heavy soil" and "pre-wash".
All this resulted in a 3 hour wash, after which the clothes would come out just "okay", but with permanent stains and sometimes bleach marks too. I never pre-treated stains and never added fabric softener or dryer sheets. Considering how seriously dirty they started out, I figured this was as good as it would ever get.
Experiment With Soap Nuts
So I wanted to put soapnuts to the test with really dirty clothes, but I also wanted to make sure I kept my procedure as similar as possible to my laundry procedure with commercial detergent. Here is what I did:
- Doubled the amount of soap nuts from .5oz. to 1oz.
- Added bleach to the bleach compartment.
- Pre-soaked wash bag of soap nuts in small bowl of hot water for 3 minutes.
- Selected: "Hot" wash, "heavy soil", "pre-soak", "deep clean".
I had just gotten this new washer and it has "pre-soak" instead of "pre-wash" like my old machine and all those selections resulted in a 2 hr. 23 min. wash versus the 3 hour wash with my old machine, but they are both front-loading HE washers. I did not pre-treat stains and did not add any fabric softener or dryer sheets. So I think I accomplished my goal of keeping my procedures as similar as possible. (You can read more on soap nuts laundry instructions here).
AFTER Soap Nuts
|Soap Nuts Really Work!|
Wow! I am impressed, aren't you? Soap nuts far surpassed my expectations. Even though I was committed to using soapnuts with my regular laundry (after seeing the results with my daughter's school uniform), I thought I was maybe going to have to continue with my "regular detergent procedure" for my husband's really dirty work clothes, but I was wrong!
CONCLUSION: Soap Nuts DO Work on Really Dirty Clothes
The results of the experiment are clear: Soap nuts definitely worked as well (in fact, I think even better) than the regular laundry detergent did! And I don't know about you, but I strive to use as natural, healthy, and good-for-the-environment products as possible, but the bottom line is, they also have to work!
So now I know there is no reason to have to continue buying regular laundry detergent just to get my super dirty clothes clean, because soap nuts can get the job done. Plus soap nuts are also more economical than regular laundry detergent and they're 100% eco-friendly... what more can a person ask for?
So here's what I've decided to do with my really dirty clothes...I'm going to run 2 different wash bags:
One 1oz. bag of soap nuts for my husband's really dirty work clothes
One 1/2oz. bag of soap nuts for my regular laundry